Take a deep breath of that fresh air, smells like “So You Want To Read Comics”, a weekly feature where we take a look at a single topic then offer a pair of comic book recommendations for new readers, based on that topic. This week we’re taking a trip into the great wide open and looking at comics for nature lovers.
The concept of nature is wide and nearly indefinable yet, there’s an undeniable connection humanity has with the world around us, be it having a potted plant in your apartment, or spending months hiking through the wilderness. While it seems at times that the unyielding march of progress is leading us all as far away from nature as possible, the last year or so has shown that nature still holds a special place in a lot of people’s hearts. Unable to socialize in the traditional ways, people escaped into the wilderness at record high rates. A University of Vermont study saw a big increase in the rates people observed nature, gardened, tried their hands at nature photography, and simply walked in nature during quarantine (link). There has even been an increase in people wanting to participate in citizen science groups and engage in conservation efforts (link) .
So, for nature lovers new and old, here’s a couple of comic books that you can check out so you can enjoy your favorite hobby in another way.
Writers: Grace Ellis & Noelle Stevenson
Artist: Brook A. Allen
Publisher: BOOM! – BOOM! Box
Comic books, maybe more so than any other medium, are deceptive. It’s not difficult to find poignant, deep, and important topics hidden within colorful and silly images. Lumberjanes is one of those types of books. What appears to be a comic book about young, women summer campers, having zany adventures with supernatural elements and more jokes per square inch than you’ll see in most other books, has become a property that’s been praised as an example of how important representation, inclusiveness, and equality are. On top of all this, Lumberjanes captures a youthful and innocent spirit when it comes to nature. The characters in this series interact with nature on a pure level, with wonderment, awe, and fear. They appreciate the mysteries of the wild and long to unveil them. As of the writing of this article, Lumberjanes has come to a conclusion so it’s now possible to read the entire series without having to wait.
I’m Not A Plastic Bag
Writer: Rachel Hope Allison
Artist: Rachel Hope Allison
Publisher: BOOM! – Archaia
While loving nature is great and should be celebrated, not all nature/human interactions are as positive. Focusing more on the environmentalism side of loving nature, I’m Not A Plastic Bag is a graphic novel that shows how our waste and trash takes on a life of its own. What makes this such a unique and interesting book is that it manages to tell an impactful tale without any (traditional) dialog. Instead it uses wonderfully drawn pages and familiar images of trash to tell the story about a garbage patch lost in the ocean. It’s a cautionary tale that doesn’t preach or go out of its way to make the reader feel bad about things, but inform them and get them thinking about it. As a nice addition there is a section at the end that is more straightforward with information about the human impact on the oceans and nature in general. It even includes ways that people can get involved themselves.
What did you think of these recommendations? Do you have suggestions of your own? Let us know in the comment section below.